The Alumni Association of the University of Liberia (AAUL), has undertaken a fund raising project aimed at soliciting over US$2 million to help address the financial challenges facing its students.
The AAUL launched the fund drive yesterday in the university’s auditorium with scores of alumni in government and the private sector in attendance.
AAUL president, John S. Davies, told his colleagues that the university is currently facing a crisis and it is incumbent upon them to give helping hands.
The institution, Mr. Davies said is currently faced with infrastructure as well as human resource deficits and these need to be addressed urgently.
“The infrastructure deficit and the lack of or inadequacy of some modern learning instruments that would enhance the leaning processes is hampering the growth of our brothers and sisters and we must intervene,” said Davies.
“We believe that this investment will yield dividends for our alma mater and the country at large,” Davies urged his fellow alumni.
“Our alma mater, once the guidance of light in Africa, continues to suffer and we must help to rescue it. It is our duty to do so and we must do it now,” Davies said.
He noted that alumnus and alumnae often boast that they are who they are because of the discipline the institution instilled in them.
Mr. Davies, who is president of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), called on alumni to see the need to help at this critical time in compliance with promises made to support the institution, noting that they are indebted to the UL.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who served as the Chief Launcher of the fund drive, said “government has tried to help the UL but we cannot do it all.”
She said before taking office in 2006, budgetary allotment to the UL was just a million, but her government has substantially increased the allotment.
She recalled that between 2011 and 2012 budget period, there was a total of US$14.5 million to the UL. “It dropped to US$11 million the following year and then US$10.5 million the following budget year, but for the 2015-2016 budget year, it climbed to US15 million,” she said.
She said the government has also helped UL in a very good way by promoting the establishment of community colleges across the country, which has somehow helped to ease enrollment burdens for the university.
The President instructed all her lieutenants who attended the ceremony to make some meaningful contributions to the UL.
Some government officials at the program were Acting Foreign Minister Elias Shoniyin, outgoing Finance Minister, Amara Konneh, Information Minister Eugene Nagbe, among others.
President Sirleaf then pledged US$5,000 as her initial contribution to the fund drive.
Other prominent Liberians at the occasion were Representative Edwin M. Snowe, Dewitt Von Ballmoos of NASSCORP who made a personal pledge of US$1,000 and US$10,000 on behalf of NASSCORP.
A proxy of Liberty Party political leader, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, pledged L$100,000.
The AAUL leadership earlier extended invitations to many other political leaders and institutions, but none of them turned out.